The Word • 2017 • episode "3/3" Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life

Category: Nature
Download:

Sophie looks at one skill in particular that seems to give humans an advantage over all other animals - our superior talent for language. She explores what language really is, and how close other animals come to having it. She considers the world of primates and the theory that some apes may communicate through sign language, and reveals how, even in the womb, humans start to practise making the mouth movements needed for speech. But language isn't just a power to combine words. Professor Scott explores how we convey information through the tone of voice, our accents and the pace and pitch of our speech. But in a world when we regularly talk to computers, she also shows why scientists need to develop machines that can understand the subtleties of our speech. Finally, she looks at language in this digital age and explores the role that emojis play.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life • 2017 • 3 episodes •

Say It with Sound

Sophie is joined in the theatre by chirping crickets, hissing cockroaches and groaning deer to reveal the very different ways that animals have adapted their bodies to send audible messages that are vital to their species. She also explores how and why the human voice evolved to become the most versatile sound producer in the natural world. She demonstrates what sound actually is and how it travels. Unpacking the power behind sound, she uses it to shatter glass and reveal how the human body can resonate in a way that amplifies our voices to send our messages further. She also explores how different species use very different frequencies to communicate and why humans can only hear a fraction of these animal messages. Finally, she investigates why we all have unique vocal prints, and how computers are learning to recognise these.

2017 • Nature

Silent Messages

Sophie explores the world of silent communication in the animal kingdom and the human world - showing how much we can actually say without ever opening our mouths or making a noise. She reveals how some species have harnessed bacteria to generate light and how light messages are used by insects and deep-sea fish for a range of reasons, including attracting prey. Exploring how body language communicates huge amounts about us and other species, Professor Scott shows why a dog's wagging tail does not always mean it is happy and how humans can tell a lot about someone's state of mind from their posture alone. She reveals why yawns and smiles are contagious and how this can play a key role in social bonding and cohesion.

2017 • Nature

The Word

Sophie looks at one skill in particular that seems to give humans an advantage over all other animals - our superior talent for language. She explores what language really is, and how close other animals come to having it. She considers the world of primates and the theory that some apes may communicate through sign language, and reveals how, even in the womb, humans start to practise making the mouth movements needed for speech. But language isn't just a power to combine words. Professor Scott explores how we convey information through the tone of voice, our accents and the pace and pitch of our speech. But in a world when we regularly talk to computers, she also shows why scientists need to develop machines that can understand the subtleties of our speech. Finally, she looks at language in this digital age and explores the role that emojis play.

2017 • Nature

You might also like

Fresh Water

Fresh water is our most precious resource and it defines the distribution of life on land. Follow the descent of rivers from their mountain sources to the sea. Watch spectacular waterfalls, fly inside the Grand Canyon and explore the wildlife below the ice in the world's deepest lake. Witness unique and dramatic moments of animal behaviour: a showdown between smooth-coated otters and mugger crocodiles; deep-diving long tailed macaques; massive flocks of snow geese on the wing and a piranha frenzy in the perilous waters of the world's largest wetland.

3/11Planet Earth • 2006 • Nature

Namibia

Soar over Namibia as we take you on a tour of an ancient world, from the oldest desert on Earth to the emerald green waters of the Kunene River. On the journey, we delve into the country's rich culture, reborn from the shadows of its past.

5/6Aerial Africa • 2017 • Nature

Green Seas

Footage of wildlife inhabiting underwater kelp forests, including thousands of giant cuttlefish spawning along a restricted area of rocky reef off the south coast of Australia. Males outnumber females 11 to one, which leads to fierce competition. Larger males use brute force to drive off competition, while their smaller rivals use deception by mimicking the appearance of females. The programme also features tiger sharks hunting for green turtles in fields of seagrass and spider crabs trying to avoid predators while they shed their shells.

5/8Blue Planet II • 2017 • Nature

Source to Sea

Many of the great rivers of southern Africa start high up in mountain ranges, power their way eastwards across wild forests and grasslands, and eventually empty out into the Indian Ocean. Ride the currents of these powerful bodies of water as they reshape the lives of the wild animals who rely on them.

7/8Waterworld Africa • 2017 • Nature

Avalanche

Dr Helen Czerski looks at the anatomy of an avalanche. From shocking eyewitness footage from within an avalanche, to detailed CT scans showing the microscopic changes that cause them, we can now capture exactly what happens as snow transforms into a deadly and unpredictable danger.

Part 1Dangerous Earth • 2016 • Nature

Defenders of the reef

In the Gulf of Oman, survival is all about defense. Some species of sea urchins and sea slugs rely on toxins to keep predators at bay, while guitarfish use their size and armored bodies to stay off the menu. Peek into a little-known reef where fortune favors the bold and the well-prepared.

4/5Arabian Seas • 2018 • Nature